Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Happy Husband Phone Call

So, you're at home with your (fill in the blank with appropriate response)__________ (one, two, three, more? You go girl!) kids and you are in the middle of _________________________ (washing dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, sorting clothes, making beds, putting clothes away, folding clothes, playing with your kids, breaking up a fight) when you get "the call."
Let me preface this by saying I love my husband (and my kiddies) very much and I actually do look forward to hearing from him. It is just that some times I am envious of the freedom he has at work (the ability to finish a cup of coffee, eat not only one meal but possibly TWO, go to the bathroom without spectators (including comments such as "good job mommy").
You answer the phone and ________________________ (the dog barks, the kids start fighting, the cat throws up, you put the dog outside, someone falls down, the dog jumps the fence to chase a rabbit, someone knocks on the door to explain that your crazy dog is running up and down the street, someone is pushed down, someone doesn't "make it" to the bathroom, someone turns off the television, someone screams, all of the above).
Your husband pleasantly asks, "How's it going?" This is the Happy Husband Call. He _______________________ (just finished a successful meeting, had breakfast, had lunch, is bored, is procrastinating, is en route to or from work, met up with a client and ate a tasty meal, FINISHED his morning coffee (while it was still hot), interviewed a potential new hire). He is happy, content, satisfied with his job and himself and he wants to share this "warm, fuzzy" with you. Unfortunately (for him), you didn't drink your coffee (or take a shower for that matter), the kids are screaming at each other - then at you, and the dog gets in on the action and starts barking while chasing one of the cats. You think to yourself "I am angry... how dare he eat that bagel and coffee in solitude ... God forbid he went to the bathroom ALONE... I'm so sorry that you had to spend the whole night in a hotel. Yes, I guess things are pretty normal here." You are prepared to give your two weeks notice (great phrase Staci!)
Ever get a phone call like this? Can you relate?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Identity Crisis

How do you classify children of multicultural families? Something to ponder....

I work for Cultural Care Au Pair as a Local Childcare Coordinator. In this role I have started to befriend the au pairs and host families assigned to me. Recently, our family was invited to a Chinese New Year celebration. The crowd was interesting and multicultural and the food was excellent. Our family (including our kids) had a really nice time, and at the end of the day my husband had a discussion with Lightning (our son who is 4.5 years old). My husband is Chinese and the discussion was about Lightning's ethnicity. The conversation went something like this:

"Lightning did you know that you are both American and Chinese?"
Lightning offers a loud belly laugh and says, "No I'm not! I don't speak Chinese."
"Actually, you are. You know that Mama and Papa are Chinese and so am I. This means that both you and Ginger Snap are part Chinese as well. Both of you are also part American, like mommy."
Lightning pauses to take this bit of information in. Then his face lights up and he says, "Yes, yes, I am Chinese! Daddy listen - azul... I CAN speak Chinese!"

Now it's daddy's turn to laugh.

And so, my son now knows his true identity... or at least most of it. You see, my children are also Dutch (my side of the family). To make things more complicated, although my children are 50% Chinese, we do not celebrate Chinese New Year. However, we DO celebrate the Feast of St. Nick (Dutch Christmas) and the All-American Christmas. Dutch Christmas (we call it "little Christmas") is held on December 6th. So, the month of December is both fun and busy.

So, back to the big question: how do you classify children of multicultural families? In regard to our family I have heard the terms Amerasian and Eurasian. On television a half-Korean, half-American model referred to herself as a "Halfie". Typically on forms, we claim our children to be "Asian/Other". Just for fun, my husband and I decided to create new titles for our children in regard to their ethnicity. Here is what we came up with:

American + Chinese = Americhi
Asian + Dutch = Asdutch
Dutch + Chinese = Duchi
Dutch + Chinese + American = Duchinerican

We finally settled on:
Chinese + American = Chinerican

The truth... our children's ethnicity is not important. The fact is that our children are beautiful, plain and simple and we are lucky to have them.

Any comments?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Is Sleep Really Necessary?

Word of the day: frenetic- adj. frantic; frenzied.
Is sleep really necessary? I have tested this theory, and yes, it does appear that a person needs to sleep. Wouldn't we all be much more productive without sleep? Where some people "hit a wall" at a certain late night time, I seem to keep on being productive (which is why I continue to do it).

I tracked my time last week and I slept an average of 5.5 hours per night (two nights I slept less than 4 hours). It must be mentioned that even though I LOVE to sleep, it appears that I enjoy being awake even more. A typical day consists of waking up around 8 AM (unless I run or exercise - then it's around 7 AM), making breakfast, breaking up endless arguments between Ginger Snap (my daughter) and Lightning (my son), doing laundry, washing dishes, and getting dressed. Then we have lunch and I rush Lightning off to afternoon school. Ginger Snap and I run errands and then we pick up Lightning at 3PM. Usually we have an after school playdate followed by dinner preparation, baths, and a bedtime story. Once the kids are in bed I either clean up toys, fold more laundry, wash more dishes, write bills, balance the checkbook, work on my picture book manuscript (did I mention that I'm trying to write a book?), create a new post for my Blog, or spend time on my job. Yes, I also work full-time for an au pair company, Cultural Care Au Pair, as a Local Childcare Coordinator. It is my responsibility to stay in touch with my au pairs and my families, meet monthly with the au pairs, organize host family events, and maintain State Department Regulations. So, I am quite busy. It's easy to see why I stay up late, and often, my husband stays up with me. We usually go to bed around 2 AM.

What is my point? Well, I don't think there necessarily is a point. I am tired and it is my own fault.

A funny thing about lack of sleep - it makes you stupid which can be funny (in hindsight). Over the past weekend my husband and I painted the living room. The color which we thought was a "rich yellow" in the can, looked a lot like a banana, or a pineapple, or a sports car, or the sun, or a canary, or the McDonald's arches on the walls. So on Monday a girlfriend of mine (who knew about our painting woes) asked me how the 'painting was going'. Working with 3.75 hours of sleep, I desperately tried to remember which painting I was working on -a portrait? an abstract? I don't remember what I said, but the look on her face indicated that my answer made no sense. Needless to say, I felt like a huge dork.

Do other people stay up late? How much sleep do you get? I wish I was more productive during the day... sigh :-).